Towards the end of the fifth century BCE, the Hippocratic On the Nature of Man listed black bile
as a fundamental substance in the body, alongside blood, phlegm, and yellow bile, says Stewart, but later medical writers did not mention it, until Galen in the first century CE.
Clark remarks, 'De vita was the first work to give the Platonic notion of the four noble furores--itself restored to the West almost single handedly by Ficino--a medical basis in the melancholic humor or black bile
Blood-letting is based on an ancient medical theory that the four bodily fluids (blood, phlegm, black bile
and yellow bile), should stay in balance to preserve health.
TREATMENT METHODS AND THEORIES: The foundation of all of Galen's treatment methods was his belief that disease resulted from an internal imbalance of the four humours: air (blood), fire (yellow bile), earth (black bile
) and water (phlegm).
The term "melancholia" is an ancient one, and refers to what was once believed to be an illness of the mind brought on by an excess of black bile
in the blood.
The basis of the word lily-livered lies in the once-held belief that a person's health and temperament are influenced by four bodily fluids, or humors: blood, phlegm, black bile
and yellow bile.
You'll have to accept the black bile
as well as the sweet fat under
Julie Moakes, 52, of Northfield, thought she was dying as she retched up black bile
- and feared her insides were coming out.
This volume looks at the prevalent economic thinking before the changes, considering concepts such the circle of justice, household economy and humorism--a transfer of the medical theory separating blood, yellow bile, black bile
and phleghm into scholars, merchants, peasants and bureaucrats.
These have been translated from Greek into the now familiar terms of blood, bile, phlegm and black bile
. The critical point to understand when working with these concepts however--a point that far too many European Galenic doctors themselves missed--is that the terms denoting them do not simply indicate the corresponding biological fluid.
Key to this approach were observations of blood drying, resulting in the theory that there are four types of bodily fluids or humors: blood, phlegm, bile, and black bile
. This was consistent with the Greeks' quadratic world view: four seasons, four components of the environment (hot, cold, wet, and dry), four directions (north, east, south, and west), four elements in the universe (earth, wind, fire, and water), and so forth (Barry, 2004).
In times gone by it was believed black bile
from the spleen could cloud the brain and give you "the vapours".